I'm trying to understand the etymology for definition 3 (to rebut) below in 駁 - Wiktionary. Yellowbridge:

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Han character

(radical 187, +4, 14 strokes, cangjie input 尸火大大 (SFKK), four-corner 74340, composition)

(OC *preːwɢs, “leopard”) is its exopassive derivative, literally meaning, "the spotted one".


  1. (of a horse's fur) variegated
  2. mixed; heterogenous
  3. to refute; to rebut
  4. to transport by barge
  5. barge
  6. suddenly

I don't understand how 馬 or definition 1 (variegated horse's fur) relates to definition 3. So I looked up 爻 - Wiktionary, but I also don't understand how the I Ching's hexagram relates. I'm too addled to continue!

  1. a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines; a hexagram of the I Ching

Two notes:

  • The original meaning of 「爻」 is criss-cross patterns, rather than I-Ching hexagrams;

  • 「爻」 provides a phonetic hint to 「駁」.

「駁」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*pˤrawk/, patterend/variegated horse fur) is composed of semantic 「馬」 (horse) and phonetic 「爻」 (/*N-kˤraw/). 「爻」 (criss-cross patterns) simultaneously provides a meaning hint.

The semantic extension is as follows:

  1. Variegated horse fur

  2. Impure/mixed colours and patterns (looking like a jumbled mess)

  3. To distinguish, rectify (e.g. in the process of sorting out a jumbled mess, correcting what is chaotic/wrong)

  4. To rebut (e.g. to refute falsehoods, denounce wrongdoing)


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